West Coast plants for a waterwise garden
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The new gardening mantra is 'grow indigenous'. Besides their aesthetic value, most indigenous plants are less costly to maintain, largely because they have long adapted to the local climate and thus to the local rainfall. For this reason, many indigenous plants, particularly those adapted to low rainfall environments, are more cost effective in their water consumption and many have subsequently been termed waterwise plants. But, why encourage waterwise gardens? First and foremost, it is important to mention that South Africa is a relatively dry country; most parts of the country receive less than 500 mm of rain per annum. With an ever-increasing population, the demand for this precious resource will grow. In response to both of these factors, we have already become accustomed to municipal water restrictions in the Western Cape during summer, as well as legislation pertaining to its conservative use. Despite this, the most alarming fact is that gardens, particularly those with large lawns, are still singled out as the main water-wasting culprits, often consuming up to 50% of all domestic water used in suburban areas. So, it makes perfect sense to convert to a waterwise garden - if you do not already have one - because they cut down on this waste.